How loud are aerators? Ask your phone.

Sound Meter on my Droid

The Vertex Aerators are some of the most quiet on the market, but they do hum.  The statistics show that Vertex Aerators run around 60 decibels but what does that mean?  Well, its about the same loudness as normal conversation, but people don’t hum often so that is not very helpful.

Here is a great way to find out for yourself just how loud 60 decibels would be if you have a Droid phone.  My husband just showed me this App and it is so cool and its free.  It’s called ‘Sound Meter’ and the ‘lite ‘ version is a free download.  Just download this cool app and then walk around household appliances and you will get to sample what runs around 60 decibels.  Try it on your heat pump, they are usually just a little noisier than a Vertex.

Quieting Aerator Compressors

My compressor may not be able to carry a tune but it sure can hum

A well-built, well installed aeration system should not be noisy, but even the great ones hum a little.  This blog addresses several things that can be done to quiet them to your liking.

1.      Buy a well-made system, such as a Vertex, that was made to mitigate sound naturally.

2.      Locate the compressor unit on a soft ground surface such as mulch that will absorb excess hum producing vibrations.  Avoid locating on a wooden or concrete surface, such as a patio or dock.  And, avoid locating it next to a wall that will echo the sound.  The Vertex system comes with its own preinstalled poly footing pad so it really can be just ‘plopped’ down on mulch, turf, or bare ground. (No additional footing needed).

3.      Locate the unit away from your sitting and activity areas if possible.  My Vertex Air 1 on my pond is located about 40 feet from my favorite chair.  I have to listen to see if I can hear it running, it is not intrusive at that distance. Instead all I hear is my little waterfall across the pond.

4.      Do not locate the unit in a building.  See my blog post on ‘Can I put my compressor in my tool shed?’

5.      If there is any rattling or obnoxious noises when the unit is first started up, check to see that all the bolts in the unit and its housing are tight as infrequently they may rattle loose in shipping. One loose bolt can make an inordinate amount of noise.

6.      Surround the unit with plush landscape material such as ornamental grasses.  The leaves and stems will blot up most if not the entire hum so that you cannot hear the unit even 20 feet away.  Just consider the mature size of the plantings such that they will always be at least 3 feet away from the cooling fans.  The goal is to minimize the sound without reducing air flow to the cooling fans.

7.      If these simple solutions aren’t practical in your location, another solution is to order the Vertex cabinet equipped with a sound kit.  These kits run around $200 to $250 and are factory installed when your order is assembled.

8.      Where all else fails, consider locating the compressor box at a distance from the pond and just running a 1” PVC airline down to a valve box at the shoreline where it will connect  to the bottomline tubing going out into the pond.  This configuration is done at the factory, taking the valve rail out of the main unit and placing it own separate brass ‘valve box’.  Aside from the cost of buying and trenching the 1” PVC, the add on equipment cost of this customization is normally under $100.  If you need to trench electric down to the site anyway, you could just as easily trench 1” PVC instead of electric line, allowing you to locate the compressor unit up where there is already an electrical receptacle.

Can I Install My Aerator Compressor in my Tool Shed?

Vertex Air One Plus for ponds to 2 acres

It seems like the logical thing to do – here you are, with your brand new Aerator system, wondering where and how you are going to shelter it. Naturally, you know that machinery that is kept under a roof and out of the elements lasts longer and performs better than machinery that is not.  However, in the case of an aerator compressor, it is a bit different. These systems need a constant supply of cool air to compress as well as a large exhaust system to take away excess heat from the compressors and manifolds. To do this, high-capacity cooling fans are used. By putting it in a shed, it restricts air both coming in and going out, and forcing exhaust back into the compressor, which can cause damage to the motor windings and other components.

However, like every other piece of outdoors equipment, an aerator compressor does need shelter. So what do you do?

Fortunately, the folks at Vertex knew what they were doing when they designed their systems. Each compressor comes already housed in a neat lit

tle lockable, aluminum compartment that is about the size of a microwave oven and completely maintenance-free. Built into the sides of this handy cubicle are cooling fans sized to keep the unit from overheating even in the hottest weather. Just another reason to love Vertex Pond Aerators.

So, there you have it; your aerator woes are gone before they can even begin. However, if compressor noise is your problem, just keep an eye out for our next post on tips about how to reduce and eliminate it.

Should I run my Vertex Aeration System all winter?

Sturdy Vertex Aeration Systems can stay in place all winter whether you run them or not.

Depends:

  • If you live down South where the water temperatures seldom drop below 50 degrees, run your Vertex Aeration System 24/7/365.  In these areas the ponds remain biologically and bacterially active all year.  Therefore, run the aeration system all year to maximize its biological cleansing effect.
  • If you live up North where the ponds freeze over for more than three or four weeks at a time, run your Vertex Aeration System to prevent Winter Fish Kills, and if strategically located, to prevent ice damage to your dock.
  • If in live in between, like me here in the Mid Atlantic, turning your aeration system off is an option.  In this area winter water temperatures always drop below 50 degrees and so beneficial bacteria activity becomes very slow.  Providing bottom oxygen at this time of year really does not help clean the pond.   If pond cleaning is your primary concern, then just unplug your system for winter and plug it back in come Spring.  It is not necessary to remove the aeration system form the water or ‘take in’ the compressor.  Just unplug it.

o   When to ‘unplug’:  As a rule of thumb, I turn my off around Thanksgiving

o   When to ‘re plug’:  The coming of Spring can vary greatly around here.  As a rule of thumb, I restart my aerator when the grass begins to green up, usually in mid April.